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Oct. 31, 2007 - I Dressed Up As A Day Off
   Connecting With Your Audience: The headline to a post-World Series sweep column in the Jerusalem Post: Red Sox Turn From Israelites To Israelis".

On their way to a masterful four-game World Series sweep which culminated in a 4-3 besting of the Colorado Rockies Sunday night, one thing about the Boston Red Sox became clear: they have become the Israelis of baseball.

Their long years (86 to be exact) in World Series exile - decades filled with yearning, struggling, anxiety and, most importantly, keeping the faith - had established the underdog Red Sox as the Jews of baseball.

   It's not real good beyond that, and I suppose you could argue it's not real good including that. (I'm sure Dan Duquette, former Sox GM and current poobah of the Israel Baseball League, would have loved to get a phone call.)

   Think of the possibilties, though. The Christian Science Monitor pronounces "Sox Miraculously Heal Themself Of Ills." High Times deems Sox "That Guy With Awesome Weed." Cat Fancy makes some cat joke.

And yet, we remained Sox fans, just like Jews around the world haven't remained entirely secure despite their place in Israel and America. As New England-raised baseball kibbutzer extraordinaire Bill Simmons put it in a column last month, "No Sox fan can find total peace; we'll always dread the next meltdown or come-from-behind charge by the Yankees. These feelings are wired into our DNA, like Haddonfield citizens who will never again feel totally safe on Halloween."

   Unless "kibbutzer" translates to "guy who talks about himself too much and knows far less about baseball than he thinks he does," you lost me.


   • What's the best way to celebrate a new uniform launch that's already been leaked all over the Internet? Apparently, this.

The Rays have teamed forces with movie star Kevin Costner and his rock-and-roll band, Modern West, in a celebration to launch the organization's new uniforms, colors and logo. The two-day unveiling celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 8 at St. Petersburg's Straub Park, with activities for fans of all ages.

For Costner, it's a move come full-circle: His band's first paying gig was at The Outback golf tournament in Tampa. It was there that Rays director of marketing and promotions Brian Killingsworth approached Costner with the idea to revisit the area at a later date.

   Not simply having Kevin Costner at your new uniform unveiling. Having Kevin Costner and his rock band. It's like Saturday Night Live would have made it up.

   Please ignore that the dateline on that article was 12 days ago. After waking up from a 10-hour sleep, I spent all day today feeling like I had something to do only to remember this is the first time I haven't had something to do since September.

   Especially since Julie, after taking my car to work, got me a new tire to replace the one that blew out on my way to the airport last week. Yeah, forgot to mention that. You know how much fun it is to have to drive 55 mph on the highway when you think you're going to miss your flight? Lots of fun.

Oct. 25-30, 2007 - Shallow Purple
   Children Are Our Future: If only I'd known that as an undergrad, all I would have needed to do to get girls to pose for me in lingerie was create a breast cancer calendar.

Wearing pink ribbons, Walking for the Cure and mailing in yogurt lids are common ways to join the fight against breast cancer -- but how about baring it all?

Some local college students recently released a Boston-themed calendar showcasing area co-eds that below the surface is anything but superficial.

Created by College of Communication senior Jordan Liss, along with partners Joshua Pelz and Evan Saunders, the Boston Student Body calendar features several Boston University students showing their, um, support for the cause, and will donate 20 percent of its proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

   TWENTY PERCENT?! The other 80, I can only hope, will go to pitchers of beer at The Dugout while the photographers lift glasses and go, "Jesus Christ, man. I can't believe that worked!"

"I was at the gym and they approached me," said Boston Student Body model Rebecca Brady. "I was kind of leery about it at first. But then they told me how the proceeds would be going to breast cancer."

Brady, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said although none of the girls were paid to model, they were glad to help in order to promote breast cancer awareness.

"A couple of really close friends of mine -- their mothers have had breast cancer," Brady said. "That was really the reason I got involved, because it's a great cause."

. . .

In addition to pictures of the undergrads, the calendar features a small blurb about each model limited to first name and major. Liss, Pelz and Brady emphasized the importance of anonymity.

   It's so important, you did a newspaper interview using your full name and listing your major. Not to mention the posing half-nude so that 20 percent of the proceeds from a calendar that will be sold for "less than a movie ticket" will go to research.

   God bless America.


   • I have already received one e-mail with the subject line "Rockies in 6!" Though I try to keep from this sort of thing, I have high hopes for the office inbox when I finally get in there again.

Jon Couture -- 2007 World Series     Jon Couture -- 2007 World Series

Jon Couture -- 2007 World Series     Jon Couture -- 2007 World Series
-- This will stand for all photos of me during the 2007 World Series. From top left, on field, a mile high, working and hoarding sushi in my paunch.

   I have to be entirely honest. As fun as it was, and as special as it is to cover a World Series featuring a team that you've loved since you were eight years old, I think I'm over it.

   Maybe it was just how one-sided the series ended up, and the feeling after Game 3 that there was no way on God's green earth the Red Sox weren't winning their second title in four years. But in the ninth inning of the clincher, when Jamey Carroll hit that long fly to right off Jonathan Papelbon, my initial reaction wasn't "Oh, fuck. The Rockies just tied the game." It was, "Oh my God. Everything I wrote I need to scrap, and I need to start over immediately."

   I don't say that ruefully, either, because I feel like I'm in a really good place. All through Game 7 of the ALCS, I had the same stomach pains and sweaty palms I had in 2003 and 2004, so I know the fan piece of me is still there. But I don't feel compelled to write pablum like "We did it!" Last I checked, the only thing I did was spend an unforgettable month busting my ass with only the hope there are readers who appreciated it, which is more than most.

   That's a lie. I also spent a month trying not to catch an eyeful of someone's junk coming out of the shower. Only failed that test once.

   Ultimately, this is all anyone who really loves this team ever wanted. The 21st century has nothing to with Babe Ruth, Bill Buckner, Enos Slaughter or any of the other bullshit that every playoff berth from my birth to 2004 was about. If the Red Sox fell behind to Colorado, people would talk about why in a baseball sense. Well, most people ... the Coors Field board showed one guy holding up a picture of the Babe, Apparently, he didn't get the same memo the guy near the auxiliary box didn't get, as he shouted late in Game 4 "ARE WE GOING TO LET THEM DO THIS TO US IN OUR HOUSE?!!" when it was very clear that was exactly what was going to happen.

   If this feels disjointed, I'm sorry. I'm not the kind of person who's going to bitch after lucking into the job of his dreams -- OK, not bitch more than once every couple months -- but I'm as out of gas as Hideki Okajima. There's lots of little things that happened along the way that a better writer would be able to weave into an interesting story.

   Not happening. You get bullets and like it.

   -- Our flights out to Denver were both delayed rather severely due to pouring rain around JFK. It's amazing how little that bothers people when you offer free Wireless in JFK airport and free televisions/radio in the airplanes. And unlike the last time I flew JetBlue, it hardly cut out at all dur to losing satellite signal.

   -- I had a headache from the middle of Game 3 all the way through Game 4 and until the Monday morning of what would have been Game 5. The blame, I'm pretty sure, is all altitude, since I didn't drink enough water at the start f the trip and had to play catch-up the rest of the time.

   Aside from a month of eating like crap making me feel horrible about myself, having the trip end with me often out of breath after menial tasks feels like the push to start me back on the fitness train.

   -- The headache didn't help, but Denver kind of blows. It's got a definite Houston vibe where the city just spreads out forever rather than being terribly concentrated, and it's way too proud of being "country" when it actually isn't.

   Speaking of, Tracy Ringolsby is a rather epic douchebag. I'm not getting into details, but I feel pretty strongly about my statement. It has nothing to do with his writing ... he, himself, douchebag. Nice hat, you foof.

   -- As has been noted elsewhere because the singing of "God Bless America" is televised during the Series, Rockies fans madly cheer following the singing of "from the mountains."

   DUDE! WE HAVE THAT NATURALLY OCCURING TERRAIN TYPE! WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

   Someone told me they then boo "from the prairies" despite the fact a good chunk of their state is prairie, but I didn't really notice.

   -- Coors Field is awesome. They tout it to be "America's Best Ballpark," and while I don't think I'd go that far, it's pretty damn close.

Coors Field

Coors Field

Coors Field

Coors Field

Coors Field

Coors Field

   The Rockies, however, were woefully unprepared to be hosting the World Series. In that vaunted eight-day layoff, they somehow didn't find the time to label the media seats in the auxiliary box or clean the bird poop off my assigned seat that clearly had been there for weeks. And I had worse issues than most (plus make it a point to leave my sense of entitlement at home.)

   And getting the media pin ... the poor clerk thought I wanted a clubhouse access pass, which is also a pin. That was fun.

Rockies 1st World Series Pin
-- Worth it, though.

   -- If you do go to Denver, The Cherry Cricket is worth your time. Don't let the odd smell of feet in the entryway deter you.

   I'm sure there'll be more that I come up with. As you may have noticed, I've been otherwise occupied.

Sox Time Is Now
-- Red Sox win. The best story of the trip.


Red Sox Ready To Repeat History
-- Game 3 column. The other best story of the trip.


* * * * *

Sox Grind It Out For Hard-Fought Win
-- Game 2 column, and the last for the S-T front page. Decision had little to do with me, or logic.


Crisp Will Get More Series Chances
-- Game 2 notebook.


Sox Try To Minimize The Coors Field Effect
-- Off-day story. Back when I didn't buy into the whole altitude stuff.


Francona's Helpers Lend Major Assist
-- Game 3 notebook.


Francona Pleased By Daisuke's Offense
-- Game 4 notebook.


Cook, Lester Put Trying Times Behind
-- Game 4 preview.


Sox Questions Start With Lowell
-- Adapted from a season's over three questions written 10 days prior, when Cleveland led 3-1.

   By my rough count based on links here, that's 56 playoff stories, plus a Game 5 preview that will never be needed.

   I return to the desk on Sunday, while Drinking Dave heads to Indy for "The Greatest Football Game Ever Played." The bosses decided he was going, I'm convinced, because the Patriots were so thoroughly dominant in beating the Redskins.

   I really need to see more of these Patriots games. If only because in a world where people are now throwing around the term "video game numbers" freely, Tom Brady having 30 touchdown passes against two interceptions in eight games, and the Patriots averaging 41.4 points per game, might actually more than I'm capable of doing in a video game.

   Also, because it has come up, I did leave Colorado with dirt from Coors Field. However, it is not mound dirt, it's dirt from in front of home plate. Unlike 2004, there were a lot of Sox-related people congregating on the mound. As an ancillary reporter in the media horde, I'd rather not forever be tabbed as "that guy I saw shoveling dirt into an empty media pin tray."

   Also, this site is blocked by the pay-as-you-go Internet terminals at the Denver airport. Strangely, though, it's not blocked if you go directly to the "indexb.html" file that's just the daily updates. Apparently, I tucked in a lot of swears when I coded the shell.

Oct. 24, 2007 - Another World Series? Yawn.
   Dreams Do Come True, Part Two: Julie, on her drive to work each morning, tunes the radio to WBSM, your generic mid-size city talk radio station. The extent of what I know about the station is that they don't particularly like my employer, to the point we ended a working relationship with them because they just ripped us at every turn. Whatever.

   So while Julie's driving, the morning hosts begin discussing the absurd story of Rudy Giuliani cheering for the Red Sox in the World Series.

"I'm an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets," he said. "Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn't because I'm loyal to New York."
-- League loyalty? Really? Is this something old people do?

   As the hosts noted the NY Post's calm reaction to the news -- TRAITOR -- the conversation turned logically to ...

You're infamous! WBSM just called you out on your position breakdown, live! They think you're bad for nay-saying. And they said your name wrong, but they're talking about you!
-- Feverishly written text message.

   They apparently did it in a bit of jest, which I suppose isn't as good as my non-homerism sparking some sort of screaming match. I do now, however, have a definite win-win going on that goes beyond my back-burner Rockies fandom. If the Red Sox win, the Red Sox win.

   If the Rockies win? Well, apparently someone will think of me.


   • Of course, the flip side to this story was the phone call I got from Cooch HOF member Jonathan Comey in the moments between Dustin Pedroia's lead-off home run and Kevin Youkilis's ringing first-inning double. What were his exact words, again?

You didn't actually pick the Rockies, did you? Really?
You are never going to live this down. Ever.

Sox Let Bats, Beckett Do The Talking
-- Front-page column, which I oddly struggled with for a game so one-sided. Don't like it.


Young Jimenez Up For Challenge
-- Ubaldo has 19 career appearances. Tonight is Curt Schilling's 19th postseason start.


Snyder Best Rounds Out Staff
-- Notebook. I guess Francona's still to meet Claude Julien.

2007 World Series, Game 1

2007 World Series, Game 1

2007 World Series, Game 1
-- This guy also had "Britney's a terrible mom! Go Red Sox!" and "I like baseball."

2007 World Series, Game 1
-- Nice to see Kid's kept it real all these years.

   Of course, one of the night's highlights was a parking-related issue no one should care about. I inadvertantly discovered that Brookline parking meters not only have three-hour maximums, they give you 20 minutes for a quarter and stop getting checked at 6 p.m. So now, even when I show up for a 7 o'clock game at 3:30 in the regular season, I can simply feed the meter and avoid a $25 ticket.

   This all but ensures that in 2008, if I'm still covering the Red Sox, I will never pay more than $3 to park. Given it's not my money, this really shouldn't excite me like this, but it's the little things.

Oct. 23, 2007 - The Last Truly Long Day
   Dreams Do Come True: I've never been so happy to be completely wrong.

To Jon Couture:
You wrote of Tulo "With 99 RBIs in the regular season and the sort of second-half numbers -- .296 average, 15 homers, 20 doubles -- that should wrest the award from Milwaukee's Ryan Braun...." But Braun's second half numbers were far better. A .309 average, 23 homers (2nd in the NL), 65 RBIs (3rd in the NL), .618 slugging percentage (3rd in the NL). And check out how much worse Tulo hit when he was not at mile-high Denver. A .256 batting average with a slugging percentage below .400 in away games.

-- Sent through our automated reader comment
system by "Joe Wiener" of "nyc".

   It's always the throwaway lines that get people, "always" being pejorative since I often wonder if I wrote "Julio Lugo, who was crocheting a scarf in his glove when he dropped a critical Game 7 pop fly" whether anyone would notice.

   This guy is dead right, and he backs up his argument with numbers! Good numbers! I'm so shocked by the response, it almost makes me not embarrassed to be completely wrong.

   Lost in all of this is that the man's last name is Wiener. I'm not being set up by one of you jackasses, am I?

No Worries About Layoff
-- In a span of about 10 minutes, I fell in love with Clint Hurdle. Even if his bullpen usage confuses me.


Wakefield Left Off World Series Roster
-- It really kind of felt like he was either going to cry or immediately announce his retirement. Neither happened.


Jon Couture's World Series Matchup
-- In which I pick ... the Rockies in 6?

   • It took the World Series, but I and my suburban paper brethren have finally been pushed to the auxiliary press box in right field. Unlike Cleveland's, it's covered, so I have no problem with it. Sitting out there in 2004 is why I maintain Mark Bellhorn's home run hitting Pesky's Pole in Game 1 sparked the loudest explosion in the history of Fenway Park.

   Plus, I already took care of the only problem I had sitting out there.

2007 Red Sox World Series Media Pin
-- The 2004 media pin was much prettier. I'm still pissed.
The first-ever Rockies pin, though, makes me excited.

   Speaking of problems from 2004, after three years stewing over not attending -- and being kept from knowing about them -- either of the World Series Gala parties, I skipped the Boston one tonight. It was at the World Trade Center by the water, the invitation said "business attire" and I was in jeans and sneakers, I walked out of the park and saw a bunch of people in tuxedos and evening gowns, I was having deodorant issues ...

   I went home and had dinner with Julie. We watched 'Dirty Jobs' until I began pillaging all the TiVoed stuff I've missed. I really could do without being depressed by attractive people solely in the pursuit of free hors d'oeuvres.

   Besides, I had my booze-friendly colleague going with a request in to get me any free stuff that was about. And really, that's what covering the World Series is all about.

   Which is why it's amazing I didn't try and steal a World Series logo while the New Era guy was steaming them onto hats in the clubhouse.

New Era Hat Press

   You can see the brim of the hat between the two pads, beneath the white cloth. He peels a logo off a sheet, sticks it on the side, steams it, open the press, spritzes a little water on it, then steams it again. That way, guys can use their broken-in, beaten-to-crap hats.

   That this was being done out in the open while the clubhouse was beginning to nudge what I'd presume fire code capacity is ... little strange. That I didn't try to talk to the guy about the whole process ... not strange.

Oct. 22, 2007 - Happy Birthday, Dad!
   • Sorry I didn't call. It's been a little crazy.

Coutures, Game 2, 2007 ALDS
-- At least I remembered to buy him a present.

Papelbon Takes To Postseason Stage
-- In so alternate universe, Ryan Garko's fly ball tied the game at 5.
I'd like to at least know how it finished there.

   There was also a 'Rockies 101' like the one I wrote before the Division Series. It's here, but it didn't exactly reproduce very well.

   It's both shocking and sad that I have absolutely nothing non-baseball to report. Not as sad as my sleeping until 12:30 p.m. today, but pretty close. I did some arithmetic today and figured out how much the company owes me in expenses, and when the playoffs are over, it will be enough to buy a car.

   Not a particularly nice car, but a rust-free, well-running car. Also known as exactly what I would have needed if the company followed through on the idea that we should drive to Cleveland.

   I did go in the office tonight -- no new fan mail, sadly -- and ended up having a five-minute conversation with the Sports Information Director at UMass Dartmouth. He was very excited to hear I was going to Denver, though he's apparently soured considerably on JetBlue after a bad experience that involved Denver.

   It appears we won't need a car when we're there. I'm going to need a much better story to not drink myself stupid than "I have to drive!"

   Leader in the clubhouse? "I have a stomach condition," just ahead of printing out this jingling Web site and throwing it at people. Leave it to the government to construct a noise that makes me want to drink.

Oct. 21, 2007 - Didn't See That Coming Either
   • I spent most of the middle innings at the park tonight with a stomachache and sweaty palms. This would clearly not be how I would react watching a Game 7 as a Chicago White Sox beat writer.

Seventh Heaven
-- How have I covered three ALCS Game 7s in five years?


Fans 'Cowboy Up' With Familiar Face
-- Notebook. Like he would have missed this, Orioles or not.

   So, Denver. I wish I still had my junior high school art project that was highly regarded enough, it was hung in the school superintendent's office.

   You picked a city, then spelled out the name with things from that city. The 'D' was the original Rockies logo, which I think they got rid of before they ever played a game. One of the 'E's was a fork with food on it, signifying restaurants. Let's say the 'V' was an upside-down mountain.

   If only I could get home to find the merchandise catalog I got sent to me in the mail, or better still, the copy of the inaugural program that I cherished like I'd one day be putting my kids through college with it.

   This is clearly nowhere near as bad as a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl. More interesting than anything else.
Oct. 20, 2007 - Didn't See That Coming
   Tidbits: These may have nothing to do with anything, but here you go.

Butch Stearns
-- Boston Fox affiliate sports anchor Butch Stearns, sleeping in Dulles Airport.

Max & Erma's
-- Max & Erma's ... a better place to ogle boobs.

Who wants chew?
-- My new favorite PSA.

   • Clearly, I should stop being asked what I think is going to happen in a given game. Or at the very least, leave it to casual conversation.

Sox Were Made For This Moment
-- My finding a beautiful wife is the only thing that was less likely
than J.D. Drew hitting a pivotal playoff grand slam.


Mueller Returns To Scene of Shining Moment
-- Notebook, featuring everyone's favorite forgettable batting champion.


Dice-K Gets One More Shot To Prove Worth
-- Matsuzaka cramming it up Cleveland's ass would be my highlight of the year.

   Those of you that know me know I don't take myself too seriously. I simply like to be recognized for working hard and for doing good work. Most of the time, this isn't an issue.

   This afternoon, I popped in the office to catch up on a few things, most notably my work e-mail. That's the address that's on my stories, so sometimes I'll get things in there that I need to see, but can't get to because apparently e-mail forwarding would cause the paper's building to explode.

   I had 133 e-mails in my inbox. This was the only one from a reader about something I've written in the playoffs.

Subject: (No Subject)
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007
To: jcouture at s-t dot com

   Will you please explain why they put Justin Pedoria as a lead off man instead of just leaving him at his regular batting line up. He was having a great time and enjoying himself with out that type of pressure. I am sure that it will do him more harm than good and stop him from being nominated as the rookie of the year or player.

(Author's Name)
(Author's Postal Address)

   That's verbatim. And that's my soul crushed on the ground, lifeless.

   Bless the guy ... I'm glad he wrote. I responded to him very kindly, because it's not like I had a sea of other things to reply to and I'm not a dick unless you deserve it.

   Seriously, though. Is there anyone out there?

Oct. 13-19, 2007 - Linndale Rocks
   • So many stories. And stories.

Francona Enters Postseason of Errors
-- After Eric Gagne and Game 2.


Nameless Game 2 Notebook

Game 3 Presents New Stakes For Dice-K

Dirt Dog Coming Back to Haunt
-- Off-day notebook.


Sox Need To Get Back In The Zone
-- Post-Game 3. So wait, you mean it's not going to be easy?


Kielty Could Get Second Start Tonight
-- Game 3 notebook. I'm really hoping they spelled 'Kielty' right elsewhere.


Will Slow or Slower Win Tonight's Race?
-- Paul Byrd vs. Tim Wakefield. The winner? Gravity.


Red Sox in New Territory in 2007
-- Post Game 4. Panic low, since I did predict seven games.


Notebook: Sox Marvel At Rockies' Run

Sabathia is Playoffs' Polar Opposite of Beckett
-- Game 5 preview.


Francona Sticks By His Plan, His Players
-- Off-day column on ... the guy in the headline.


It's Never Easy in October
-- Post Game 5 column. Seems to be the favorite of a lot of people.


Nameless Game 5 Notebook

It's Never Easy in October
-- Post Game 5 column. Seems to be the favorite of a lot of people.


Signs of Life From Pedroia, Drew
-- Sleep-deprived off-day story.


It's All on Schilling's Shoulders Tonight
-- With special Nexis digging from 1993!

   I hope that explains the lack of posts a little bit.

   I was not the kind of guy who pulled all-nighters in college. Part was the workload I faced, but part was because I just didn't work well under those conditions. Sure, I wrote a 15-page paper once in one day, working for about 15 hours straight, but those were daylight hours.

   Thanks to Game 2 going a marvelous five-plus hours, I will now die short a day of sleep. I got back to Whale City at 3:15 a.m., and was being carted to the airport a little after 4 for my 6 a.m. flight. Despite the best interests of human health saying otherwise, I simply didn't go to sleep until 11 p.m. Sunday night, after a day of work, drinking, watching football and making sure my traveling companion didn't do anything stupid.

   Those would pretty much the themes for the trip, since I'm rapidly learning the way traveling writers deal with the rigors of travel and being away from family and living in hotels is ... drinking.

   Lots of drinking.

Drunk.
-- That's Dave. This picture can't convey how drunk he is.
The Denny's box and some sort of drink I found the next morning? That did the job.

   I, because I was the name on our rented convertible (which somehow made fiscal sense), did not do much drinking. Some, but not much.

   Outside of the actual baseball, which you may have noticed I wrote about a little bit, and the enjoyable feeling like an actual journalist for a change, the highlight of the trip was Jacobs Field. Field number 13 in America's slowest ballpark tour, and really, as good as advertised.

Jacobs Field - 2007 ALCS

Jacobs Field - 2007 ALCS

Jacobs Field - 2007 ALCS

Jacobs Field - 2007 ALCS

   Even if the people they hire to clean the park each night to things like find a coat with keys in it and throw it out -- Dave had a wide spectrum of a trip, let's put it that way -- it's a tremendous place to watch a ball game. Sitting out in Pronkville the first night, then weaseling a seat in the front row of the press box the second two nights ... it was a full week.

   There's all sorts of things that happened that I honestly can't remember because my mind is swimming at this point. Eating at exactly what you would expect a Mexican restaurant in Ohio to be, complete with day-glo tables and a menu full of numbered items. Marveling that the vaunted Cleveland Plain Dealer writes about the playoffs as though the Indians were an expansion team. (I know it's a bit of old hat here, but this stuff is pablum crap.)

   Seeing a woman in a yellow pickup, after almost broadsiding me by not looking as she backed from a parking spot, just whaling a van and driving away.

   Snagging my second-ever baseball -- also during a batting practice in a deserted stadium -- while Dave walked into the bleachers and collected eight. (This one's going out to the car, since playing catch with a Little League baseball is a little demeaning.)

   The speeding ticket, which I really don't want to talk about outside of wondering why the hell Ohio has a 60 mph speed limit on an interstate highway.

   In short, I think the ride ends in Game 6. I can't decide whether I'm relieved about it or not, but ultimately, that doesn't matter.

   Even if I feel like slighty more than a passenger on the ride this time.
Oct. 12, 2007 - C.C. Not "Cream Cheese," I Swear
   • Perhaps someday, I will tell my children that I peed at the same urinal as Tim McCarver. Probably only though if he stages a military coup and becomes dictator of the nation. I can't imagine they're going to care otherwise.

Leave The Predictions To The Pros
-- It's about Ortiz, Manny and the offense. Not that you'd know it.


Carmona Not Sure He's The Favorite
-- I'm sure enough for both of us.


Kielty Delivers On Success
-- Not a bad notebook for needing to be done before the game ended.

   The fourth row tonight, at least for me, was like the greatest episode of Mystery Science Theater you've ever seen. Just savaging of the on-field business, interspersed with cutting edge sportswriting and analysis. (Or, at the very least, better than the shit TV people produce.)

   (Yeah, let's just go with that for now. Tomorrow, I'm going to be flying to Cleveland on maybe an hour's sleep. Should be about as much fun as sitting on a tarmac in Philadelphia.)

October 11, 2007 - In The Skybox
   • A great sidelight to the off days so far is I've spent most of them miserably sick. I went to bed Monday night in California with the beginnings of a sore throat, and woke up Tuesday with the logical progression having begun.

   Of course, today is the longest day prior to a playoff series ... I was out the door at quarter of nine to get there for the Red Sox clubhouse, then back hom at roughly a quarter to nine (though I then went out to dinner with Julie, with beer making everything OK).

   This story really isn't going anywhere ... I'm just kind of waiting for the cold medicine to take effect. I'm feeling better, but really, I could probably cycle through 2-3 more diseases the way October spits out the weak.

   And Jesus am I weak.

Farrell Elevates Sox After Building Indians
-- Through stumbling across my lede, one of the better stories of my season.


Aces Up
-- Bold prediction: Friday night is going to be awesome.

   And if you're watching on TV, I've been relocated for the playoffs to the fourth row of the press box. Front row is the major papers only, second is mostly Japanese media, third and fourth are the national papers and the remnants of us locals.

   This is actually an upgrade, as in 2004 we were shoved all the way to the right field grandstand, where it's both cold and fans tend to take offense to the media taking up seats that could go to their drunken friends. Yeah, because it's our fault.

   It was fun sitting out there, but fun in the same way remembering that time you slept on the sidewalk for tickets to something. Not anything you're racing to relive.

October 10, 2007 - Burgers and Cleavage
   Balls of Fury: Look. All I'm saying is if your main female character is going to be oversensitive to the fact that people want her for her body, maybe she should wear something other than half-shirts and shorts/skirts easily outsized by elementary school issued rulers.

   Then, maybe she shouldn't fall for the main character in a span of about five minutes, most of which wasn't actually in the movie ... it just kind of happened.

   It is always good to see that Oswald is still alive, though. Plus how Thomas Lennon continues to find ways not to wear pants.


   • And now, things that ended up hilarious after the Division Series, as ripped from the Angel postseason Magazine.

Angel Magazine

Angel Magazine

Angel Magazine

Angel Magazine

   OK, the last one doesn't actually have anything to do with the Angels or their playoff ouster.

   I just wanted to point out that there's a diner chain in Southern California whose advertising mantra is "Hey, come eat here! Our waitresses dress like '50s tease whores!"

   I've eaten at the Ruby's in whatever the heck town we stayed in during the writeup-less Vegas and L.A. vacation. I recall the food being good, and a total absence of whore waitresses.

Role Players Keep Rolling Along
-- Any time you can build around Alex Cora, you're doing something good.

Oct. 6-9, 2007 - Non-Disney California Adventure
   • You know what happened in Los Anaheim. It was incredibly quick, surprisingly painless and the aftermath lasted longer than the actual reason for going out there.

   Yes, I had to stay out there the extra day when there was no Game 4. It was slightly tougher duty than you might think, given I had no car and talked myself out of renting one, but now I can at least know that 'Balls of Fury' faded quickly from the radar because it wasn't very good.

   Plus, I had to write another story on the off day. Because I'm naturally a lazy shut-in, this was all the motivation I needed to scrap doing most anything.


Ortiz, Manny Bring The Power
-- I quite like this one. Has that "written covered in champagne and beer spray" feel.


New Schilling At His Postseason Best
-- Headline encapsulates story. Really needs nothing else.


Sox, Angels A Postseason Mismatch
-- Notebook, leading with various playoff numbers. In no way a Stat That Time Forgot.


Pedroia Ends Slow ALDS On A High Note
-- I, however, did not end the trip on a high note.

   Life is about the people you meet, isn't it? So rather than tell baseball stories, I'm going to tell some people stories. Six, because that's a nice number.

   1) On my afternoon flight from Providence to Minneapolis -- a stopover during which I did not find the airport bathroom, but did see the D'Backs clinch -- I sat next to a very short older couple who had to be Midwesterners. At various points, the wife offered me peanuts they'd brought for themselves, something to read, made more legroom for me that I really didn't need and seemed almost apologetic that they were preventing me from having an entire row to myself.

   It was kind of awkward at the time, because I really didn't need any of the things she was offering, but in hindsight she had to be the nicest random passenger one could possibly sit next to. They even knew enough baseball to carry on a basic conversation.

   It just struck me as funny, since my last flight from California featured sitting next to the kid with divorced parents who wouldn't shut up, kept trying to get me to read Penthouse with him and more or less made me buy him a beer -- it shut him up -- which he then spilled all over himself.

   2) In a middle seat on my second flight to LAX, the woman on the window side began the flight by knitting what appeared to be fingerless gloves -- should I be concerned she got big stabby knitting needles through security? After that, she broke out her iPod and began laughing out loud to whatever podcasts she was listening to. And when I say loud, I mean like all passengers around her giving the quick turn and glare, which as always is met with obliviousness.

   I didn't care, since I had my own music to listen to. I'll give her credit, though ... she was the one who thought to reach for the air discomfort bag when the woman on the other side of me started vomiting.

   3) Older woman, as I found out a Yankees fan originally from North Dakota -- "when you don't have a team, you have to choose one, and the Twins weren't around yet." Her day had started in Albany for reasons I never asked about ... could have been what caused the stomach issues, but really, I have no problem with Albany. It's like a baby Harrisburg!

   After a while, she became absorbed in a book and I in my music. I wasn't really alarmed that she started leaning her head against the seat in front of her around when we began our descent ... I figured she was just tired. She asked a flight attendant for a cup of ice, received it, picked up a piece of the ice, went to bring it to her mouth, dropped it, then dropped whatever she'd eaten that day all over herself.

   It smelled like Doritos. I'm sorry. I already regret typing that, but this is the Internet. There's 10,000 confessions out there way worse than that one.

   Me, being cool under pressure, immediately had no idea what to do. I rang the call button about 20 times, apparently having forgotten that at the beginning of the flight, I'd spied the "Air Discomfort Bag" in my seatback pocket and thought "Do people actually ever have to use those?"

   In hindsight, when I boarded the plane I noticed both that it smelled odd and that a worker came in with replacement seat cushions for a seat somewhere behind me. There's a pretty good chance I'd been part of a double feature.

   Amazingly given the space constraints, I escaped unscathed. The woman on the other side of the aisle cared for my neighbor, who pretty much awoke from her trance afterward and, to use my background, walked off the jetway under her own power.

   Though I'd imagine it's hard to not be shaken awake when you've filled your shirt with vomit.

   4) We jump to the postgame on Sunday, where I'll again cite Sox pitching coach John Farrell. Not only is he the first Red Sox personnel ever to call me during dinner, as opposed to the other way around, he saved me in the orgy that was the visitors clubhouse.

   Several writers were clustered around Mike Lowell in the frenzy, though a frenzy at least quiet enough I was able to make out what he was saying. Being on the outside of the gaggle, I'd occasionally look around and see what else was going on around me.

   It was in one of those looks I saw a player -- I honestly can't remember who, Julian Tavarez I think -- approaching with a giant tub of ice water.

   And then I saw Farrell, who said to me and those around me, simply "Look out."

   We moved. Tavarez drenched an unsuspecting Lowell. The number of beers I owe Farrell creeped that much closer to a full six-pack.

   5) Which brings me to our stringer in Anaheim, a man who's written well for us when the Pats played in San Diego and again got the call for Game 3.

   His stories are fine ... people who make their living as stringers are typically both damn hard workers and plenty serviceable writers. They don't typically end their work day threatening to take the Red Sox to small claims court, but sometimes, they do.

   I had a seat in an extra row of the main press box, basically temporary workspaces cobbled together out of plywood. He had our second seat, which was in a cafeteria, but ended up not needing to use it because the seats next to me were empty.

Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium
-- Worth the trip, to say the least.

   Early in the game, stringer stands up and proceeds to lean his entire weight on the piece of plywood desk, supported by all of a couple metal brackets.

   Snap.

   Me, the three writers next to me and an Angels PR person spend the next 20 minutes holding the desk up until a cguy can be found to reassemble the setup. Stringer is apologetic, and really, it's only part of the story because he'd called me in a panic earlier because he'd been unable to find the seating chart I found in approximately six seconds of being in the press box.

   Oh, and the potential lawsuit.

   Because he's an ass-kicking stringer, he got to both clubhouses in the postgame scrum, with me noting he was talking to Brendan Donnelly as I left the Sox clubhouse to go write.

   Apparently he kept talking to Donnelly for quite a while, to the point both Donnelly and Jonathan Papelbon got annoyed.

   Papelbon being Papelbon, he proceeded to show his displeasure by pouring two full beers over our stringer's head. I have no doubt in my mind this was also because our stringer was wearing a red cardigan sweater, had disheveled hair and wears gigantic clear plastic glasses held together on one side by Scotch tape.

   Upon seeing him roll back into the press box absolutely soaked, I ask what the hell happened. He tells me, capping the story by saying he'll be sending his dry cleaning bill to the Red Sox, and if they don't pay ... you know that part.

   It was a fun story to recount to my boss, though it probably would have been more fun if he'd just gotten a call one day asking why the paper was taking the team to court.

   6) Finally, a brief foray into the SoCal mindset.

   I took a shared van shuttle to and from LAX, and the process worked flawlessly. Vans were where they were supposed to be, they were early, they were clean ... I have nary a complaint. Anyone who picks me up at 4:55 a.m. to trek me 30-something miles to the airport, allowing me to avoid driving on those godless freeways, and does it for $20 (including tip) is on the fast-track to heaven.

   The second stop after getting me was at another Anaheim hotel, and the people being picked up weren't there. The driver investigated a bit, told me what was going on, killed some time by toweling off the outside of the van, called the missing people and found out they were en route -- they weren't actually staying at the hotel, but getting picked up there because it was cheaper than doing so from their house. Fine.

   After about 15 minutes, they roll up in a pickup truck. Out steps your stereotypical blonde, still looking good but wearing the sort of clothes that probably looked a lot better on her a decade ago. And of course, she has a small KAYAK as part of her luggage.

   Now, we're in a 15-passenger van, but a kayak is a rather sizable piece of traveling gear. Factor in the luggage of six people, plus the bodies of six people, and the people still to be picked up are in for a fun ride. She, of course, thinks there's nothing wrong with any of this, completely ignoring the driver's question about whether they told the company they were showing up with sea gear, then making fun of his Mexican accent once he's closed the door to the van.

   I really probably should have said something, but it was 30 miles to the airport. And the woman's husband did immediately apologize to me for being late when he got back from parking the car. I didn't care ... it was still 3.5 hours before my flight at that point.

   He, an Anaheim fire chief, and I chatted a little bit about the baseball, with him saying the Angels losing made his life a little easier because it meant less security planning to do. He asked where I was from, and I told him Providence.

   "That's beautiful country," he said.

   Not long after that, I figured out he thought Providence was in Maine. Didn't bother to correct him.

   I presume he gets that enough without leaving his house.

Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium
-- Night, SoCal. Enjoy the Ducks!

October 5, 2007 - First Since 1996. Honest.
   • There's pictures of me with my father and brother before the game, but those will have to wait until I get back from California.

   I almost got a little choked up at the end of the night. Not for me, certainly ... it's frightening to say without a lot of hyperbole that I see stuff like this all the time. But for them.

   I've made mention of the number of games I went to growing up, of that love for baseball being nurtured over all other sports.

   That I was able to give both Matt and my father tonight ... I don't even know what to say beyond that.






-- My feelings exactly, you magnificent bastard.

Angels Prove They Belong in Postseason
-- The classic "written before the game is over" column. It still works ... L.A. still pissed it away.

   There was a notebook, too, but it apparently didn't make the Web. As you might imagine, I don't exactly care.
October 4, 2007 - Who Wants Penis Cookies?
   What's A Double Standard: Learning about bachelorette party gear is definitely something I could have done without, even if it was worth it trying to figure out exactly what the flip side contains and how stores sell it without suburban mothers going absolutely insane.

Bun Pincher

Bun Pincher

Never mind.
-- OK. I know the alternative to this already.

   How did I get roped into this? Because I hadn't eaten dinner, and the party store was near Best Buy.


   • With outstanding timing, given an almost actual day off, it's finally here. Japanese baseball, but not Japanese, but ported from a game for a Japanese audience. I'll give them credit ... I learned some things already:

   -- The Blue Jays were named to pay tribute to other local teams with blue in their uniforms.

   -- The Royals name came both from a local livestock show and a fan contest.

   -- The Pirates are so dubbed because "they aggressively stole a player from another team."

   -- The most succinct thing one could write about the Cubs is "Founded in 1876. Past players include many famous Hall of Famers."

   That the game is only $30 only enhances the level of awesome it is. It's pretty much a direct translation of the Japanese version, and Japanese people love baseball.

   The fact that it's being marketed as "Hey, look! Goofy cartoon baseball players!" probably means it isn't going to do great, but anyone who actually plays it will notice, "Hey, this is both difficult and deep."

   I give MLB Power Pros a ringing endorsement. Even if the true-to-life accuracy isn't there.

J.D. Drew, Awesome in Video Games
-- Next, you're going to tell me A-Rod hits in the playoffs. Please.

Coco?
-- And 5-for-5 STILL wasn't good enough for player of the game!

Game 2 Starters Found Groove Just In Time
-- It's normal to hear "groove" and immediately think about Stella and her groove, right?

October 3, 2007 - Hot Dog Dreams
   Not A Celebrity Crossing: Working for the TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com brought Alyssa Milano to Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

   Normally, I would have only known about this through overhearing press box chatter -- apparently some of the Boston papers had an invitation to interview Milano in the run-up to Wednesday, and were passing it around like a hand grenade. However, I'd also been forewarned by ... my mother.

   Mom, who understandably doesn't get too deep into exactly what I do, learned about Milano's assignement thanks to her appointment viewing of the oft-mentioned "Inside Edition-Entertainment Tonight" double feature every weeknight at 7. She then called me to tell me that Milano was "nervous" about covering the postseason, and that I should go introduce myself and put her at ease, what with us being the "same age."

   (I just looked it up, and Milano will be 35 in December. This is not the reason the conversation devolved, but knowing it certainly wouldn't have helped.)

   Beyond that sense that people who've been celebrities since their teens aren't nervous the way normal people are nervous, Milano's actual enjoyment and understanding of baseball puts her miles ahead of the guy who, in Terry Francona's pre-game press conference, began his question with "Coach."

   The best/worst part is the disdain of both Francona and the rest of the room went completely over the guy's head.


   • Again showing I'm in over my head, I spent all the time I could have been chatting up the body behind "Teen Steam" -- never saw it, which makes my remembering it even scarier -- smuggling Matty Cooch dessert from the media dining room.

Matt and his fruit tart.
-- Dessert = Single Fruit Tart. Though I did buy that Beckett jersey, too.

   He said the Ortiz home run went right over his head and landed about five yards away in the next section.

   And to think ... I tried to convince him to sell his ticket.

Red Sox Ace Made Pitches, And History
-- How often does one get to make references to Mordecai 'Three Finger' Brown?


It's Manny's Time of Year
-- Jerk couldn't even hit a home run to make things more relevant.


Wakefield Will Have To Wait
-- Pre-game notebook. Can't believe I'd forgotten clubhouses are closed in the playoffs.

   I've covered parts of five Major League Baseball seasons for a daily with a circulation under 40,000. I've covered the playoffs four times.

   That's absolutely staggering to me.
October 2, 2007 - Just Read The Stories. Really.
   Red Sox Nation Metaphor Update: After writing about Remy and Red Sox Nation so much recently, I found it fitting that I saw this in the press box this afternoon.

Jerry Remy, Pumpkin Form
-- Painted pumpkin, complete with campaign button.

   And this wasn't even the first of the day ... walking to lunch at Quizno's, one of the bars had a Sam Horn campaign sign in the window.

   I haven't actually replied to them yet because I've barely been in the office, but I got three e-mails lathering praise on Rant 2007. I guess if I wanted The T-Shirt Kid to e-mail in and call me a loser who didn't "get it," I needed to completely shut down the self-respect switch in my brain.


   • It was a very long day, in so much as sitting at Fenway Park and running from clubhouse to press box to lunch to press box to interview room to press box to home and more writing can be construed as a long day.

   Julie both picked up dinner and is getting sick, which in turn will eventually get me sick. (If you're a disease, October's a good month to strike. Simply doing the most logical thing for my job and watching Monday's playoff game got me all of six hours of sleep.) I consider her efforts "a wash," though extremely kind regardless.

   This week has been one of those that 20 years down the line, when I've become whatever it is exactly life has in store for me, I will either look back on wondering why I worked so hard for no money or that made me. I genuinely don't know where it's headed, and I prefer not to think about that the number of people who will actually read these stories.

   I just do my job to the best of my abilities. That there's so many people around me, with soapboxes way bigger than mine, who can't say that is starting to bother me a little more than it should. I guess I just take solace in the people who can say it, and who've been rewarded because of it.

Bring It On: Papelbon Ready For Spotlight
-- The preview centerpiece, and honestly, I think I've outdone myself.


Game 1: Aces Thrive on Big Stage
-- There was a head-to-head matchup too, here.
I took the Sox in 4, but bear in mind I went 0-4 in last season's LDSes.

October 1, 2007 - Yes!
   • That Matt Holliday never touched home plate dampens this some, but I'm not exactly sad about it.

Rockies 9, Padres 8

Denver Post photo. I closed the window. You know what happened.

   I was rather embarrassingly not into this game, with both the Patriots and ... pro wrestling ... on at the same time. Not that this is why, but Don Orsillo sounded like he was calling a game between two teams that were opposing the Red Sox. No excitement at all.

   Adrian Gonzalez hits a grand slam in a one-game playoff to erase a 3-0 deficit, and you call it like Richie Sexson dumping a Julian Tavarez fastball into the visitor's bullpen? Jesus.

   But I've long since reached the point where play-by-play guys really can do anything to enrich a game for me. Everybody loves Vin Scully, and I did pine for the Harry Kalas call from Philly on Sunday. (I've heard it since, and it was as good as I'd hoped.) The color guys are the ones that I listen for. As much as a guy like Jerry Remy turns people off around here because he never stops trying to sell crap, he teaches you things about baseball that you didn't know. That's what I want, because I'm trying to learn.

   Suffice to say, I was a lot more excited when the Rockies made the playoffs in 1995, even though they were cannon fodder for the only Atlanta team that ever won the World Series. I'm still beaming today, though ... I wish I had my first edition program from 1993 here in Whale City, so I could read some chunk of the Don Baylor feature and remember the days when all I wanted was (insert some stupid Rockies trinket here).

   Matt, of course, adopted the Marlins in 1993. He clearly got the better of that exchange.

Youth Group Inspires Confidence
-- The playoff preview stoires roll on. See what happens when I try!


A Hot September Offers No Guarantees
-- Stats everywhere! Isn't it weird the games starting will actually feel like less work?

2007: [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2006: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2005: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2004: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2003: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2002: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05] - [04] - [03] - [02] - [01]
2001: [12] - [11] - [10] - [09] - [08] - [07] - [06] - [05]